Friday, October 11, 2013

Interview with Arnine Weiss, Author of She Ain't Heavy

Arnine Cumsky Weiss is a nationally certified sign language interpreter and a teacher of English as a second language. She has worked in the field of Deafness for over thirty years. She is the author of six books. BECOMING A BAR MITVAH: A TREASURY OF STORIES, BECOMING A BAT MITZVAH: A TREASURY OF STORIES (University of Scranton Press), THE JEWS OF SCRANTON (Arcadia Publishing), and THE UNDEFEATED (RID Press) and THE CHOICE: CONVERTS TO JUDAISM SHARE THEIR STORIES (University of Scranton Press). Her second novel, SHE AIN’T HEAVY (Academy Chicago)was published in June, 2013. She is married to Dr. Jeffrey Weiss and is the mother of Matt, Allie, and Ben.

Visit Arnine’s website at

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m a certified sign language interpreter and I’ve been working with deaf children for several decades. I also teach English as a Second Language and GED prep classes. I’m married….just celebrated 30 years, and I’m the mother of three children.

Where did you grow up?

Wilkes Barre, PA

What is your fondest childhood memory?

One of my fondest childhood memories is going to the beach with my grandmother. We’d get there early (so we could find a parking spot) and spend all day in the sand, in the water, and eating goodies from the boardwalk.

When did you begin writing?

I started writing as we were planning my son’s Bar Mitzvah. My son is a leukemia survivor and his Bar Mitzvah was interpreted into American Sign Language for my deaf friends. I thought that if we had an interesting and unusual experience, then others must have also. I started researching and found 50 of them. My first book, Becoming a Bar Mitzvah: A Treasury of Stories was born.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I work during the day, so I write mostly at night or weekends.

What is this book about?

This book is about loyalty, friendship and second chances.

What inspired you to write it?
In the aftermath of 9/11, there were a lot of discussions of people who were supposed to be in the towers, but weren’t, for one reason or other. I was intrigued by the idea of second chances and wanted to explore the idea if people really know they’re getting a second chance.

Who is your biggest supporter?

My husband (hope that’s not too cliché!)

Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

3 of them…..some of my best times in NYC are in these groups.

Who is your favorite author?

Varies…I often go by what I’m reading at the moment…..and if I like the author enough to read other things by him or her….right now, it’s Jonathan Tropper. He makes me laugh.

Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?

I have an agent. Janice Pieroni. She’s great.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

I’ve had six books published and experienced a little bit of both… happy to elaborate if you want more.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

Changed my expectations. People disappoint you. Now I just try to focus on the positives.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Independent Book Stores.

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?

Yes. Youtube She Ain’t Heavy Arnine Cumsky Weiss

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

Hiring Dorothy at Pump up your Book.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Enjoy each part of the process. I would love to focus on writing…but if you only do that, the book goes nowhere. Embrace all parts of the process.

What is up next for you?

I’m writing the next book….pretty well into it. I would also like to write the sequel to my first novel, The Undefeated.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Thank you so much for the opportunity!

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